Would You Let Your Son Play Football?

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So: Are you going to let your son play football?

I’m not. And if you’re like growing numbers of parents, you won’t either: Pop Warner participation rates dropped almost 10 percent between 2010 and 2012. Why? Because we love our sons, and we are worried that the rough, tumble, and hard knocks of a football game might turn their brains into soup.

There’s a name for the soup: CTE, chronic traumatic encephalopathy. It’s a brain-wasting disease notable for producing depression, sharp personality changes, and erratic, even violent behavior among those who suffer from it — and those who suffer from it seem to be disproportionately people who hit and get hit for a living: Football players. I’ve written about it before, noting that it seemed connected to the suicides of Penn lineman Owen Thomas and former Eagles standout Andre Waters, and asking whether it might’ve had anything to do with the murder charges against former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez.

It’s worth revisiting now because of three reports that emerged in recent weeks: Read more »

The 16 Best Phillies GIFs of 2014

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These are the saddest of possible words:
“Rollins to Utley to Howard”
Trio of Phillies, all in their thirties,
Rollins and Utley and Howard.
An NL East dynasty turned into rubble
If they’re all back next year, problems may double
Words that are heavy with nothing but trouble:
“Rollins and Utley and Howard”

With apologies to Franklin Pierce Adams

The Philadelphia Phillies finished up their season yesterday the same way they finished the last three: Out of the playoffs. The Phils finished with a 73-89 record for the second consecutive year. In yesterday’s finale, Cole Hamels pitched well and took the loss — an event that happened far too often for a pitcher that posted a 2.46 ERA in 30 starts but finished with just a 9-9 record.

With the Phillies out of the playoffs, I thought I’d share some of my favorite animated GIFs I made of Phillies games this season.

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Ex-Phillie Mitch Williams Suing MLB Network, Deadspin

Hey, what’s ol’ Mitchy-poo been up to? Oh, I see: He’s suing MLB Network and Deadspin stemming from a report Deadspin posted about Williams’ behavior at a youth tourney game this April.

Williams, the Daily News reports, is suing MLB Network for wrongful termination and defamation and Deadspin for defamation. After Deadspin posted its report — which included allegations of foul language by Williams and photos of him chest-to-chest with an ump at an under-10 tournament in New Jersey — Williams admitted being ejected from the game, but claimed it was the ump who was the problem.

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Flyers Fans Booed the Ice Guys Again Last Night

Another preseason Flyers game, another chance for Flyers fans to show displeasure with the team’s removal of the Ice Girls. Fans actually interrupted the referee announcing a penalty to jeer the fact that women in tiny shorts and tight tops no longer collected ice shavings during stoppages of play.

How long will this go on? Just the preseason? Will loud boos continue to embarrass Flyers fans all year? Will the Flyers eventually acquiesce and bring back the Ice Girls?

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The Phillies Will Finish In Last Place For the First Time Since 2000

By virtue of a last night’s 6-4 loss to the Miami Marlins, the Phillies sewed up last place in the National League East. It’s the first time the Phillies have finished in last place since 2000, Terry Francona’s last season as manager. That team lost 97 games and its best pitcher was Robert Person (Fan club: The Person People). So, things could be worse!

If you’d forgotten: Yes, these very same Phillies had the best record in baseball in 2010 and 2011. Not so very long ago!

If you want to feel better about the Phillies’ recent struggles, think how unprecedented this period of success was: The 13 consecutive seasons without a last-place finish is actually the third-longest stretch in team history! The Phillies avoided last place between 1974 and 1987 and between 1905 and 1918 — both 14-season stretches — and also avoided last place from their second season in 1884 to 1903 — an impressive 20-season mark.

Other than those stretches, Phillies’ history is pretty much entirely last place finishes. This season will be the 32nd last-place finish by the Phillies in 132 years of play. The Phillies have finished in dead last in 25 percent of seasons they’ve played.

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Cary Williams Needs to Follow DeSean Jackson Out of Town

Photo| Jeff Fusco.

Photo | Jeff Fusco.

After watching last Sunday’s win over the Redskins with four missing offensive linemen, a halfback who hasn’t done diddly and a quarterback bruised like a late summer peach, I’ve come to the conclusion that the Eagles may never lose.

They are a 6  1/2 point underdog this week at San Francisco, but he way the Birds pull out fourth-quarter victories, it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if they upset the 49ers. And even if they do lose, at the very worst they’d likely head into their week 7 bye with a sterling 5-1 record, which would put them right into a legitimate conversation of, dare I say, the Super Bowl?

Yet, something troubles me these crisp autumn days, and his name is Cary Williams.

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Citizens Bank Park Is MLB’s Best Stadium for Getting a Home Run Ball

Citizens Bank Park

Photo | Jeff Fusco

The Wall Street Journal did an analysis of 1,000 random home runs from the 2014 major league baseball season and crunched the numbers: How many were caught and dropped, how many were hit in areas where fans could catch them and how many fights broke out over home run balls (three).

The Journal also noted which parks had the highest number of home runs that were retrieved by fans: And Citizens Bank Park tied for first. Eighty-five percent of home runs at CBP were caught or picked up by fans, tying it with AT&T Ballpark in San Francisco for the highest-total in the majors. It’s no surprise, as these are the finest stadiums on each coast. In contrast, fans at O.co Coliseum in Oakland get just 33 percent of homers.

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The Flyers’ Broadcast Asked the Easiest Trivia Question in Its History Last Night

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Last night, the Flyers played their first preseason game at the Wells Fargo Center against the Capitals. As CSN Philly put it, the Flyers’ 5-4 win over Washington at the WFC was “punctuated by continual fights and four power-play goals from the Flyers.”

But the highlight of the night was undoubtedly the trivia question asked during the broadcast on The Comcast Network. Gee, how will I ever figure out the answer to this question?

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Buzz Bissinger Owes Nick Foles an Apology

Photo Credit: Eric Hartline - USA Today

Photo Credit: Eric Hartline – USA Today

Long before the cheap shot on Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles by Washington Redskins 325-pound nose tackle Chris Baker, Buzz Bissinger launched his own cheap shot at Foles. Baker attacked Foles’ body; Bissinger attacked his character.

Bissinger penned the cover story on Foles for the July issue of Philadelphia magazine. Bissinger, frustrated that Foles refused an interview, lashed out like a petulant child. In the article he called Foles a “one-dimensional choirboy caricature.” He said Foles has “fragility embedded into everything.” Bissinger, always Mr. Class, even called Foles “chicken shit” and said he needed to “man-up.”

But of all the quotes in the article, one paragraph stands out as especially foolish now that Foles has bounced back from a hit that would have sidelined most quarterbacks.

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Can’t a Guy Get a Beer in This Town Without Freaking Football Blaring in the Background?

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During football season, Eagles talk — and also Eagles shouting, Eagles yelling and Eagles screaming — hangs in the air with a ubiquity rivaled only by oxygen. It dominates your television, your radio, your phones both smart and dumb, your already-fucked-up Facebook feed. It soaks into workplace asides, sidewalk encounters, waiting-room chats, barroom blather. It is everywhere. And for a large percentage of Philadelphians, this is an invigorating and compelling reality. We’ve waited all year, and it’s finally here! E-A-G…

For a much smaller portion of the population, however, the return of the National Football League spells hell. Living in Philly and rooting for a team other than the Eagles is an interesting existence, as we’ve recently discussed. But what about those who detest not only the Eagles, but the entire NFL and the controversial culture it’s spawned?

Joey Sweeney, founder and editor of the long-running city blog Philebrity, wants you.

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